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Lehman, Goldman pair for Hong Kong option

Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs have executed what is thought to be the first long-dated Asian property derivative option.

The trade, brokered by GFI Colliers, was based on the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island Residential Price Index. Goldman wrote the trade, which will give Lehman a hedge for its Asian property portfolio.

“This trade is quite big for the Hong Kong market,” says Stephen Moore, head of Asia Pacific property derivatives at GFI Colliers in Hong Kong. “In this market it’s been tough getting end users seeking to hedge large property portfolios involved, which is what these products should be used for.”

The trade, the size and tenor of which Moore declined to disclose, could be a boost for the market. Thanks to the Hong Kong market’s volatility, trades have generally been done in smaller sizes ranging between three and 18 months in tenor. While some property derivatives trades have been executed at tenors of 10 years and up, this trade is thought to be in the three- to five-year range.

Moore says the trade’s size was “significant” and larger that the average notional trade in the UK and the largest GFI Colliers has done in Asia since it opened its Hong Kong business.

“The options market here is nascent. It’s still an illiquid asset class,” says Moore. “There is still a lot of education to be done to put more trades on the books, but this trade will go some way to building the market.”

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